Nadine Payne & Desires A Gun • Photo by Dawn Baxstrom

No Payne No Gain At West Texas Futurity

Desires A Gun walked into her first showpen at the West Texas Futurity in Amarillo, Texas, piloted by owner Nadine Payne. When she rode out of the arena she had claimed her first title as the 3-Year-Old Non-Pro Champion.

The Boon Too Suen mare couldn’t have made Payne happier with her performance. “It’s very exciting!” said Overbrook, Oklahoma competitor Payne. “I’m very, very proud of her. She’s done everything I thought she would, plus more.” With a 210 in the first go, and a 216 in the second go, the duo’s composite score of 426 earned them a check for $6,000 to jumpstart Desires A Gun’s career.

“We call her ‘Toad’ because she’s very short and fat,” added Payne about the mare, who is out of Desires To Play (by Playgun). “But she’s super cowy!”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Toad at the West Texas Futurity. Their first go-round was “a little bit of a disaster,” according to Payne, who said since they didn’t know how to get her ready, the 3-year-old was pretty fresh going into the pen.

“The second go, we changed our approach a bit and we sure enough had her breathing hard before I went and cut our first cow. My first cow was really, really good, and I cut her for a really long time,” Payne explained. “The mare was dialed in, she was being her normal self again – stopping really hard, up into the cow, and really good. The second cow was a lot of cow and she tried to take us out of the cutting, but little ‘ol Toad was doing everything she could to keep it in the game and make it look good.”

Their third cow was exactly the one they did not want, after Payne’s husband, James, specifically told them, “Do not cut this cow.” However, when Payne and Toad tried to cut their final cow from the herd, the “do not cut” cow kept stepping up to the plate.

“That cow was pretty dumb, and she was in the way, so James was like, ‘Well, cut her. You’re not going to get around her, just cut her,’” Payne said with a laugh, describing the scene as the clock wound down. “I was like, “Are you sure?” but it all worked out. We learned a lot, learned a lot about little Toad.”

Toad was bred by Cowan Select Horses, of Havre, Montana, who Payne is grateful to for having sold the 3-year-old to her, along with Robbie Boyce for setting up the transaction.

“I’m so grateful to Bill, Barbara and Lisa for this horse, and for Robbie Boyce who bragged about her to us – without them, we wouldn’t have ever gotten this done,” she said.

While there’s much to love about Toad, her heart, grit and smarts are what have made her a standout with Payne, as well as with the judges at the West Texas Futurity, it would seem. Payne admitted though she once wondered whether the mare’s short stature and heavy frame could get the job done in an aesthetically pleasing manner. “But everyone has complimented on how great of a look she has coming across the pen,” Payne said with a laugh. “I’m very happy with her.

“I’ve shown at the big futurities several times, and I have shown at small futurities, but it’s always been a really big goal of mine to win the 3-Year-Old Non-Pro at Amarillo,” said Payne, who has acquired $483,934 in earnings since her first check in 2009. “And I finally got it done! It was a lot of fun!”